Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kung Fu Panda: In Review

Yesterday, I did something I never did in my life: go see 3 movies at the movie theater... in a row! First, I offered myself the IMAX experience for the panda, then The Incredible Hulk was next, to finish with The Happening, both of which I'll review next.
In this film, Po, a very big but lovable panda, is stuck living a life of making noodle soups in a restaurant with his father, Mr. Ping (a stork, incredibly, but yet the relationships between all the animals in this film need no judgment, since the target audience is much younger) but in a twist of fate, is chosen by the temple master, a wise turtle named Oogway, as the Dragon warrior who will bring peace to the region and is destined to defeat the fearful Tai Lung, a leopard carrying vengeance in his heart. Dismayed by the kung fu contenders who trained mercilessly under the leadership of kung fu master Shifu, like every story of its kind, he fights through and meets with his destiny.
This is one of the most beautiful animated films I've seen in a long time. The colors are so beautifully painted and sets the mood for every scene, whether it's the lively, brighter colors while Po trains with the other contenders (a tigress, a monkey, a crane, a viper and, yes, a mantis) or the darker colors when Tai Lung escapes from prison. The jokes and quips are simple and doesn't refer to other films or adult situations, which is why children will enjoy this movie. I know, since they were the loudest in the room. Unfortunately, most of the dialogue is concentrated around Po, Shifu and a little of Tigress and Tai Lung, leaving very little room to develop the other characters. I was looking forward to listening to Jackie Chan and Seth Rogen in a film where they could have all the freedom they needed, but they probably have the least dialogue of all the main characters. Dustin Hoffman is great as Shifu, Jack Black does ok as Po, having his ups and downs, Ian McShane is fun as Tai Lung and Angelina Jolie could've been a little more convincing but she's still tough.
There are a lot of action sequences which present little originality, not much dialogue, but the film is short, it's sweet, and the kids will enjoy it and adults too. Expect it to compete in the Animated film category along with WALL-E.
Rating: 3/4

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